Roger Goodell and his flunkies need to quit bickering with officials over the dollars that are separating the two sides. Are the “real” NFL officials worth what they’re asking for? No, but if Mr. Goodell truly cares about the “integrity of the shield” he needs to bring back the professionals, not only for the sake of the league and quality of the product but also for the safety of its players he swears to care for so dearly. I’m no fool, but if the owners are playing this “they’re still buying the product so who cares” stance, then shame on them. The bottom line doesn’t always need to be the bottom line. These unfit officials have already cost one team a victory. How long until their ineptitude is the cause of a significant injury? Why do we need to wait until something horrible happens before we fix the problem? Get it together NFL!
Through three weeks there are two 2-1 teams in the AFC East, and neither of them resides in Foxboro. Those top teams, the Jets and Bills, both won on the scoreboard but lost personnel, one quite more significant than the other. The Jets lost All Pro corner Darrelle Revis for the season to an ACL injury in a non-contact situation. I don’t think there’s a player on their roster whose loss makes a greater impact to their team. They’ll be thoroughly tested these next two weeks when they host the 49ers and Texans in back to back games. I highly doubt they’ll still be atop the division after the conclusion of those contests…..Buffalo experienced their loss when CJ Spiller went down in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Unlike Revis, who is lost for the season, Spiller’s injury isn’t expected to sideline him for long. Still, this is an offense already without Fred Jackson that gets to host a pissed off Patriots team Sunday.
be back as early as this week, and while the Bills want to lean on the run
game, it’s nice consolation to know that Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the
league lead with 8 TDs through the first three games….. New
England is 1-2 in the standings and below .500 for the first time
since 2003. I don’t think they have any
uncorrectable problems, but they definitely need to be making more plays on
defense – 2 INTs and a meager 3 sacks through three games. They also need to move on from this Welker
contract drama and throw the guy the football.
He didn’t go from one of the league’s better producers to Julian
Edelman’s rightful backup overnight. Oh
and Bill Belichick chasing and grabbing one of the officials after the game is
an image I won’t soon forget…..Then there’s Miami.
Not to be left out, the Dolphins had an “oh damn” moment of their own
Sunday when Reggie Bush left the game with a knee injury. Bush thinks he’ll be back this week, but this
1-2 team can’t afford to be without their best (by far) offensive player for
any significant stretch.
It took 8 months, but the Ravens got their championship game revenge and sit atop the North, tied with the Bengals at 2-1. I don’t know if I could have found the give-a-damn to strap on shoulder pads after the loss of a family member, but Torrey Smith did and couldn’t have given his brother a better tribute. After going through an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, the Ravens receiver was the star of the game, catching 6 passes for 127 yards and 2 TDs. Way to go Torrey! The wannabe refs were at the center of this one, ruling that a Justin Tucker that sailed over the top of the right upright, was indeed good. See how easy that was Billy Cundiff? If I’m worry about anything with the Ravens it’s that they’re struggling to generate much of a pass rush outside of Haloti Ngata. Courtney Upshaw hasn’t gotten off to a hot start, and Paul Kruger has been invisible…..The Bengals got a big win at Washington, with Andy Dalton throwing for over 300 yards for the second week in a row. He also tossed 3 TDs, but the highlight heave of the day was Mohamed Sanu’s deep strike to AJ Green. A big positive for
Dalton is that he had completions of at least
20 yards to give different receivers.
Even though it was on the road, the Bengals need to keep their foot on
the accelerator in games like this.
After getting out to a 24-7 lead last in the 2nd quarter, Cincinnati allowed 17 straight points to even the game
tossed two more TDs. Their upcoming
schedule sets up nicely with games against the Jags, Dolphins, and Browns. Now is the time to rack up the victories….. I know it’s not easy to travel out west and head
home with a win, but the Steelers have no excuse for letting the Raiders drop
them to 1-2. They gave up 34 points in
this loss and have surrendered 65 total points in their two defeats. They’re also having trouble establishing any
semblance of a ground game. Yes the
offensive line is banged up yet again, but Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have
combined for 142 rushing yards on 54 carries or 98 less yards than Antonio
Brown has on his 18 receptions. Ben
Roethlisberger has carried this team before, but I’m not sure he can do it for
an entire 16 games…..Bringing up the rear is one of the league’s two remaining
winless teams. On the positive side, their
three losses are by a combined 18 points.
On the negative side, Trent Richardson followed up his 109 yard game
against the Bengals with 27 against the Bills, Brandon Weeden is tied for the
league lead with 6 INTs, and their next three games are against the Ravens,
Giants, and Bengals.
Did I call that one right or what? The Texans totaled 436 yards against the Broncos, and JJ Watt got 2.5 sacks of Peyton Manning. If you take away the two garbage time TDs Denver scored down 20, the Texans’ total yards allowed doesn’t look so bad. These guys are clicking in all phases right now. Not even losing part of an earlobe can keep Matt Schaub off the field. If they didn’t have believers after trashing the Dolphins and Jaguars, folks took notice after this one. They’ll have two more tune ups against the Titans and Jets before hosting the Packers and Baltimore prior to their week 8 bye. If they’re not 5-0 when
Green Bay comes to town
I’ll be shocked…..I think the rest of the division has already been eliminated
from postseason contention. The Jaguars
got their first win last week against the Colts. Maurice Jones-Drew had his first big game of
the year, rushing for 177 yards and a TD.
I still think the Jags are horrible, but this week’s matchup against the
Bengals will give us the truest evaluation of this team in my opinion….. The
Titans escaped from that circus of a matchup against the Lions with their first
win of the year. I don’t see the
excitement lasting long with an upcoming trip to Houston this Sunday. Chris Johnson is still absolutely awful,
“spearheading” the worst rushing game in the league. Mr. CJ2K has 45 yards on 33 carries. I don’t care how bad your blocking is. That’s pathetic. Speaking of pathetic, the Titans rank among
the worst in football defensively against both the run and pass. This defense wasn’t supposed to be
gangbusters this season, but they weren’t supposed to get rolled over each
week. So far, teams are averaging 38
points per game against these guys. Not
gets a week to heal up from the first three games and plan for the
Packers. I like the chemistry Andrew
Luck has developed with Reggie Wayne.
The veteran receiver ranks 4th and 5th in football
in receptions and receiving yards respectively.
Defensively, they’ve played better against the pass than I expected, but
teams are still running on them rather easily.
I wondered how the Giants would bounce back on a short week after a dramatic comeback win at home against the Bucs in week two. Question answered. The Giants rolled down to
Carolina and whipped Cam Newton and his
Panthers all over the field all night.
Eli Manning continued to show why he’s one of the best QBs and leaders
in the game of football. Now he didn’t
have a statistical explosion, but he did such a great job of consistently
leading his team down the field for scoring opportunities and exploiting
weaknesses and mismatches in the defense.
I love how he adjusts at the line.
Andre Brown had quite the game in Ahmad Bradshaw’s absence, rushing for
113 yards and 2 TDs. Brown is easily the
hardest runner on the roster and will make things interesting when Bradshaw is
ready to return. Martellus Bennett seems
to be a great fit for this offense. The
free agent TE scored in his third straight game and continues to draw a ton of
targets from Eli. I really like where
this team is right now.....Philly is up next for the champs. The Eagles were pretty much pushed around by
the Cardinals, a team with an underrated defense. Can Michael Vick eliminate the mental mistakes
and keep the Eagles on the right side of .500?
Will the Eagles make a concerted effort to make LeSean McCoy the focus
of the offense? In my opinion they won’t
win consistently unless they do. I’m not
big on this team, and despite the 2-1 record, they’re 4 points from being
0-3. I don’t see them being any better
than .500 after these next three games (Giants, Steelers, Lions). I must compliment their pass defense
though. No, Brandon Weeden and Kevin
Kolb are world beaters, but in addition to holding them both in check, they
gave Joe Flacco his toughest game of the year so far…..Dallas got a home win
against the Bucs, but it wasn’t quite the bounce back from the Seattle loss
that you’d look for from a playoff contender.
They had only two three-play drives on the day, but they started in Tampa territory on their
two first half scoring drives. They
didn’t do much when they had to create on their own. They also got lucky when a call went their
way, hosing the Bucs out of a TD on a play where Tony Romo got pancaked and
fumbled. I’m not impressed with this
team so far. How do they do Monday night
against a comparably dysfunctional Bears team?.....Bringing up the rear are the
1-2 Redskins, fresh of a bitter home loss to the Bengals. RGIII is getting a ton of (rightful)
publicity, but I’m not buying the Redskins as a team. Is Alfred Morris a true primary ball
carrier? Can Pierre Garcon get healthy,
and can anyone establish himself as a legit option in Garcon’s absence? Fred Davis is having a disappointing start
but leads the team with 11 receptions.
They’re awful against the pass, as I said they’d be, and have
surrendered back-to-back 300+ yard passing games to Sam Bradford and Andy
Dalton. What will Eli and Romo do
against these guys?
Jay Cutler didn’t have a great personal bounce back from the
Green Bay drama
game, but the Bears won a convincing 23-6 contest against the Rams. On defense they’re doing a great job of
getting to the passer with just their front four, freeing up the rest of the
defense to shut down receivers and create turnovers. They intercepted Sam Bradford twice (one for
a pick-6), sacked him six times, and held the Rams to 160 total yards on
offense. Michael Bush did a decent job
in Matt Forte’s absence but missed the entire fourth quarter with what appears
to be a shoulder injury. Keep an eye on
that…..Easily the surprise of week three, the Vikings took care of the Niners
24-13 in a game they controlled throughout.
Hats off to the Vikings for playing one hell of a football game. Christian Ponder did a great job of
controlling the game; throwing for 2 TDs, rushing for another, and most
importantly, not turning the ball over.
The fact that they were able to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson 25
times tells you that they were playing the type of game they wanted to
play. Percy Harvin continues to be a
target monster, catching 9 more passes for 89 yards. I’m interested to see how much of a boost
Jerome Simpson provides the offense with upon his return from suspension. Chad Greenway showed why he’s considered one
of football’s better backers totaling 10 tackles and 2 sacks on the day. How will they respond this week in Detroit against a
disappointed Lions team?.....Wow, it took me three teams to finally get to the
Packers. It wouldn’t have though had the
pop warner fill in officials know the rules of football prior to taking the
field. Simultaneous catch my ass. Golden Tate simultaneously caught that ball
like I simultaneously drive a cab from the back seat or how I simultaneously
fly a plane from row 33. What an awful
awful embarrassment for the NFL. The
Packers aren’t blameless in this.
Where’s the explosive offense from last year? Where are the big plays and rhythm? Shock jocks like to laugh at Aaron Rodgers
and his offensive line for the 8 first half sacks, but what they didn’t mention
is how Seattle’s secondary was straight abusing Packers receivers all
game. Rodgers isn’t an indecisive guy
who just holds onto the football. Now
they get the winless Saints at home. The
Packers have to bounce back from that screwjob and take care of business…..The
Lions definitely did NOT take care of business in Tennessee last Sunday. Talk about your strange games. The Titans/Lions matchup featured a horribly
executed penalty mark off, a hail mary tip and catch for TD, and bad bad bad
execution from the Lions on the last play of the game. I said I didn’t trust this team in my season
preview, and they’re not proving me wrong.
They barely beat a decent Rams team, got smoked in San Fran, and looked
inept throughout at Tennessee. They’ll still be in the basement next week if
they don’t bring their A-game this Sunday against the Vikings.
I’m really not sure where to go with this. In one of the worst calls in the history of pro sports, the Packers were absolutely jobbed out of a win, and the Seahawks improved to 2-1 on the year. Get rid of these bums now! If I play defense in the NFL, I want to be on the Seahawks. That crowd absolutely fulfills the role of 12th man, making it extremely difficult for opposing offenses to focus and communicate. I love this defense. Chris Clemons destroyed the Packers blockers for 4 sacks, and both Brandon Mebane and rookie Bruce Irvin added two apiece. That secondary is physical and does a great job of taking advantage of the inept replacement refs. Russell Wilson put the first headline in his scrapbook after this one.
Wilson doesn’t light up
the stat sheet, but he’s not a game manager, someone trying not to lose a
football game (see Tarvaris Jackson). He
just doesn’t have a lot to work with at receiver. I like this team a lot and still feel pretty
good about my prediction of them winning the West…..Ok, so they’re not
unbeatable. The Niners pride themselves
on being able to run the ball at will offensively and shut down the other
team’s run game defensively. Well none
of that happened Sunday at Minnesota. It’s not like they were awful
offensively. Minnesota simply made more plays, especially
the big ones. No, it’s not time to
panic. The Niners didn’t head back west
after the game but instead remained on east side prior to this week’s matchup
at the Jets. I fully expect a bounce
back Sunday…..The West has two feel good story teams. Arizona
took it to the Eagles from the first whistle to the last whistle in a 27-6 butt
whoopin’. QB Kevin Kolb was efficient,
threw for 2 TDs, and didn’t turn the ball over.
Ryan Williams got the bulk of the carries and averaged 6.4 yards
per. There was a Larry Fitzgerald
sighting too. The All Pro had easily his
best game of the year so far, catching 9 passes for 114 yards and a score. The story of this one though is the defense. These guys are strong at every level. Daryl Washington is having the breakout
season I predicted, and that secondary refuses to give up big plays. They’ve yet to allow an opposing team to
reach 20 points. I didn’t believe much
in this team in the preseason, and as good a story as they are, I’ve got to
wonder if the defense can carry a lacking offense for an entire season. I’m not ready to jump on the Kevin Kolb
bandwagon yet is what I’m saying I guess….. St. Louis simply isn’t making strides. They lack big play ability on offense and
don’t close out enough drives defensively.
The talent is absolutely there on the defensive side of the ball to
carry a weak offense through short stretches, but they have got to get better
offensively. They get the hot Seahawks
and Cardinals in their next two game and look to avoid falling even further
behind in a surprisingly competitive NFC West.
Best and Worst
New England Patriots
Ben Roethlisberger – 36/49, 384 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 123.2 QBR
Joe Flacco – 28/39, 382 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 117.7 QBR
Andy Dalton – 22/46, 328 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 132.9 QBR
Matt Ryan – 30/40, 275 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 107.8 QBR
Matt Schaub – 17/30, 290 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 115.3 QBR, 1 mangled ear
Jake Locker – 29/42, 378 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 113 QBR; 4 rushes, 35 yards
Jamaal Charles – 33 car, 233 yards, 1 TD, 6 rec, 55 yards
Andre Brown – 20 car, 113 yards, 2 TDs, 3 rec, 17 yards
Ray Rice – 20 car, 101 yards, 1 TD, 5 rec, 49 yards
Maurice Jones-Drew – 28 car, 177 yards, 1 TD, 2 rec, 16 yards
Mikel Leshoure – 26 car, 100 yards, 1 TD, 4 rec, 34 yards
Darren McFadden – 18 car, 113 yards, 1 TD, 2 rec, 2 yards
Arian Foster – 25 car, 105 yards, 1 rec, 3 yards
Torrey Smith – 6 rec, 127 yards, 2 TDs
AJ Green – 9 rec, 183 yards, 1 TD
Calvin Johnson – 10 rec, 164 yards, 1 TD
Mike Wallace – 8 rec, 123 yards, 1 TD
Larry Fitzgerald – 9 rec, 114 yards, 1 TD
Santonio Holmes – 9 rec, 147 yards
Ramses Barden – 9 rec, 138 yards
Akeem Ayers – 10 tackles, 1 sack
Chris Clemons – 4 sacks, 4 tackles
JJ Watt – 2.5 sacks, 6 tackles
Michael Johnson – 3 sacks, 5 tackles
Justin Houston – 3 sacks, 3 tackles
DeMarcus Ware – 2 sacks, 2 FF, 2 tackles
Thomas DeCoud – 2 INTs, 3 tackles
Sam Bradford – 18/35, 152 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 39.2 QBR
Josh Freeman – 10/28, 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 45.2 QBR
– 16/30, 242, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 40.6 QBR
Philip Rivers – 21/38, 173 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 45.2 QBR
Ryan Tannehill – 16/36, 196 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 50.2 QBR
Chris Johnson – 14 car, 24 yards, 0 TDs
Willis McGahee – 12 carries, 36 yards, 0 TDs
Shonn Greene – 19 car, 40 yards, 0 TDs
Doug Martin – 19 car, 53 yards, 0 TDs
DeMarco Murray – 18 car, 38 yards, 1 TD
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 17 car, 38 yards, 1 TD, 1st career lost fumble
Vincent Jackson – 1 catch, 29 yards
Jordy Nelson – 2 catches, 19 yards
Justin Blackmon – 1 catch, 7 yards
Jason Witten – 2 catches, 8 yards
Sidney Rice – 1 catch, 22 yards
Brandon LaFell – 1 catch, 27 yards
Demaryius Thomas – 3 catches, 34 yards